Home Sweet Home tree cutting issue threshed out: No plan to cut 36 trees

BAGUIO CITY – (Feb. 8, 2021) – There appears to be no truth to the reported plan of the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to cut 36 trees at the Home Sweet Home Compound along Gov. Pack Road.

The issue which elicited concern from the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) and the public was threshed out in a meeting Feb. 8 led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, CICM represented by Frs. Gilbert Sales and Geraldo Costa, Baguio City District Engineering District Engr. Rene Zarate and city department heads.

City Environment Management Officer Rhenan Diwas said it was clarified during the meeting that the city has not issued any clearance for such number of trees at said particular area and that there was no application received from the BCDEO.

“Our records showed that the DPWH has no pending application for clearance with that specification so we have not issued any clearance and with that, we assume that there is no tree cutting permit for such from the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),” Diwas said.

The CEPMO head said what was issued clearance were the six trees along the Baguio General Hospital Rotunda recently cut.

The BCDEO applied for the clearance which was subsequently issued after verifying that these are within the road right-of-way directly affected by the first phase of the road widening project.  Moreover, three of the six trees were already leaning towards the road and therefore pose danger to life and property.

During the meeting, it was gathered that a funding of P40 million was allocated for the road widening project supposed to cover the RRW of the CICM property but the project has not been bid out yet. 

It was said that the funding will be realigned for the improvement of the road and sidewalks and will not require the cutting of any tree.

“We hope that with the issue clarified, it will now allay the apprehension and correct misconceptions aired in the social media claiming that the city has already issued clearance to the cutting of these trees,” Diwas said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo and Jessa Samidan